Newt: As speaker, I would defund Justice Dept. until Holder ousted

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told The Daily Caller on Friday that if he were still atop the House of Representatives, he would defund the Department of Justice until Attorney General Eric Holder resigned or was fired.

TheDC asked Gingrich if he would send Capitol Hill police to arrest Holder, as the Washington Times had suggested the House could, now that he is in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress.

“No,” Gingrich said in response, during a wide-ranging interview with TheDC staff in the news outlet’s Washington, D.C., offices. “If I were speaker, I’d cut off funding because that’s real. If I were speaker, I’d announce that we’re not moving any appropriations for the Justice Department as long as Holder is attorney general.”

“The reason [former President Bill] Clinton and I got a lot done is we both understood what was real,” Gingrich added. “Yeah, we held press conferences and we postured, but we had real brawls. We closed the government. We had real fights and people got it. The reason we were re-elected in ’96 is we had the guts to close the government.”

Gingrich said he expects a federal judge to overturn President Barack Obama’s assertion of executive privilege over the Operation Fast and Furious documents, although he is not entirely sure.

“My hunch is it [Obama’s executive privilege assertion] will be [shot down by a federal judge], but it depends on what kind of judge it is,” Gingrich said.

With regard to the emerging scandal about the Obama administration’s Department of Treasury terminating pensions for 20,000 non-union Delphi retirees during the 2009 auto bailout, Gingrich said he supports the new bipartisan calls for a stronger congressional investigation into what happened and who was responsible.

“That’s exactly the stuff Congress ought to be more aggressive about,” Gingrich said.

The call from lawmakers — and now Gingrich — for a more in-depth investigation comes in the wake of emails TheDC obtained and first published on Tuesday showing that senior White House and Treasury officials were behind the termination of pensions for 20,000 non-union Delphi salaried retirees.